Surfing with Kids - Surfing Instructor

Good Hope Volunteers
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Coordinator | Vanessa
Coordinator | Vanessa
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Surf and/or learn how to surf in a surfers’ paradise.
Change the lives of kids from poor communities by teaching them how to surf.
Experience several different South African communities and cultures.
Explore sights and adventures of the world-famous Garden Route.
Share this experience with other volunteers from all over the world.
As a volunteer you can make a positive difference by using surfing as a tool to change the lives of underprivileged children. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About Surfing Smiles

The Surfing with Kids project was founded in 2010 in Mossel Bay, South Africa. The project's mission statement is: "The empowerment of marginalised youth through surfing."

Empowerment comes as a result of commitment, dedication and learning new skills. Through the medium of surfing, the project’s team teaches the value of learning to do difficult things and enjoying the results of commitment and dedication. By learning to do something they've never done before in an environment they've never encountered before, children develop a new awareness, forming new ideas about themselves, their abilities and their lives.

This project also incorporates a variety of other ocean-related activities, besides surfing, aimed at empowering marginalised children. They encourage healthy interaction between volunteers and children through a variety of fun activities, like beach games and fitness exercises.

Volunteering & Impact

You DO NOT need any previous surfing and/or ocean experience, but you MUST be comfortable in water and be able to swim.

You work directly with the children participating in the surfing programme and you assist the youngest children first. You help them to surf. You help them to handle the surfboards and to catch and ride small waves in the shallows. You also play beach games with children and are responsible for general supervision on the beach and packing and unpacking surfing equipment.

You are always thoroughly instructed and briefed by professional surf instructors, who work full time at the surfing programme, before helping any child in the ocean. You only work with the children under surfing instructors’ supervision.

You also have the opportunity to learn surfing yourselves, under the supervision of the surfing instructors! You are introduced to surfing and practice your surfing skills under the supervision of a professional surf instructor, during weekday mornings, before assisting the children's surfing programme.

Typical day

Regular Days

You teach basic ocean skills and introduce young children to surfing.

You teach basic ocean skills and introduce young children to surfing. Your work days are divided into two parts: the first part of the day consists of volunteer surfing sessions and/or surf and programme theory; the second part is spent working in the kids’ surfing programme.

At the kids’ surfing programme, volunteers assist with the following: 

·      physically assisting the youngest children in the ocean, helping them to surf small waves in the shallows;

·      playing beach games designed to develop the children’s physical abilities and build confidence for surfing;

·      assist with general supervision on the beach;

·      packing & unpacking of surf equipment before and after surf sessions;

·      preparing the children's meals.

During volunteer surfing sessions, you learn how to surf. The surf instructors will introduce you to the basics of surfing and then you surf under the instructors’ supervision. With guidance, you learn to understand mechanics of wave riding, swell, wind, tide, wave formation, currents and all other aspects of surfing. You are required to develop your own surfing skills as far as possible in order to assist the kids’ surf programme. You are also instructed on how to supervise and assist the children when working in the surfing programme.

If conditions do not favour surfing during kids’ surfing programme time slots, you will assist with the organisation of other beach games designed to develop the children’s strength, fitness and ocean awareness. Alternatively, you and the surf instructors will use the surf centre at Diaz Beach for hosting other educational activities, such as homework assistance or the screening of appropriate material. If conditions do not favour surfing during volunteer surfing time slots, you assist with general maintenance work at the surf centre and/or engage in theoretical lectures (ledby the Surf Coach and Volunteer Coordinator) that explains everything to do with surfing on a theoretical level. You will also be given a more in depth understanding of the kids’ programme (how it works, the philosophy, the methods, all the different activities besides surfing, background info on individual children, etc.) 

Extra Excursions: You can explore the beautiful surrounding coastline of the Garden Route area, visit nearby towns, do some shopping or simply spend the whole day surfing and/or doing other adventure activities. Options include snorkeling, sand-boarding, paragliding, skydiving, bungee-jumping, canoeing, kayaking, zip-sliding, exploring ravines and waterfalls, tubing, and various wild-life experiences such as game-drives and whale watching! Plus many, many more!

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.

Free-time activities

Mossel Bay is a very friendly and relatively small town, with a quaint town centre and beautiful views. The surrounding area, known as the Garden Route because it is always green, is world famous and boasts breathtaking scenery, pristine beaches, indigenous forests and spectacular wildlife.

There are great waves for learning to surf, with beginner-friendly waves at Diaz Beach, and there are also plenty more demanding waves for advanced surfing. Except during summer holiday periods (primarily Christmas and Easter), the area is relatively quiet and very relaxed.

One of the most famous surf spots in the world, Jeffrey's Bay, is only 300km east of Mossel Bay and many of the world's best surfers, including 11-times world champion, Kelly Slater, rate Jeffrey's Bay as having the best waves in the world.

The Garden Route is also renowned for its wide variety of adventure and nature-oriented activities, including snorkeling & diving, sand-boarding, paragliding, skydiving, bungee-jumping, canoeing, kayaking, zip-sliding, tubing, and various wild-life experiences such as game-drives and whale watching.

Weekly excursions to these activities are not included in the programme but can be easily arranged with the help of programme coordinators, who will book transport and arrange activities for volunteers upon request.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Required Documents
CV, Police Clearance Certificate and Proof of Medical Insurance
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You need to be able to swim. You must have a love for children and be able to teach subjects in a fun and interactive way. It is important that you are able to use your imagination to keep children focused and engaged. You should enjoy surfing, playing games, doing sports and being outside in the sun.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Good Hope Volunteers

  •        Project placement
  •       Airport transfer on arrival and departure (George Airport)
  •       Accommodation (dorm-style rooms, breakfast, lunch & dinner from Tuesday to Saturday)
  •        All surfing equipment
  •        Supervised surf sessions with a qualified and professional surf instructor
  •        An orientation at the beginning of your volunteering
  •        Electronic certificate (printed copy on request)
  •        Local support including a 24-hour emergency number
  •        Constant Programme Supervision
Airport Pickup at George Airport

Transport is provided on both your arrival and departure, and is included in the programme fee. Preferred transfer time is between 10:00 and 12:00.


You will stay in a beachfront apartment that is located very close to Diaz Beach, 2-3 min walking distance. The apartment is modern, stylish, equipped with all the necessary utilities for a comfortable stay and is located inside a secure complex. It is a 2-3 bedroom apartment, with a maximum of 3-4 volunteers per dormitory-style room. Men and woman may share a flat, but do not share rooms or bathrooms.

The apartment is fully furnished. The living rooms have comfortable couches, and the beds are clean and comfortable. The kitchens are equipped with everything necessary for cooking, including an oven and a microwave. Laundry facilities are available within easy walking distance. The flats are cleaned on a weekly basis and clean bedding is provided every week. Bedding is included, towels are not included. It is recommended to bring at least two towels. You do your own laundry (except for bedding) and you are expected to keep the apartment clean and tidy.

The apartment does not have Internet facilities, but there is free WiFi available at Diaz Beach, which is where volunteers work with the children. You can also easily purchase a South African SIM card from a local cell phone provider for accessing the Internet on a smartphone. 

This volunteer project can accommodate a maximum of 6 volunteers at a time, the average number of volunteers is 2-4.

Food & Beverages

Three daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are provided from Tuesday to Saturday. Please note that meals are not included on a volunteer's day of arrival and day of departure.Lunch and dinner are prepared in-house by the project’s private cook and will be served in your volunteer accommodation. Ingredients for breakfast will be provided, but needs to be prepared by volunteers themselves.

A vegetarian option is available and it may be possible to cater for other special dietary requirements, but only if we are made aware of the situation in advance (at least 2 weeks before arrival).

On Mondays and Sundays, you must cater for yourself. Your accommodation is fully equipped for cooking and there are several food and grocery shops within easy walking distance of your accommodation and there is also a shopping mall nearby. Mossel Bay Town Centre is a short taxi ride away (5 min) and there are several more shops that sell large variety of items.

There are also many good restaurants in Mossel Bay that prepare good food at very reasonable prices and can be reached easily, either by walking or with a short taxi ride.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

You need to arrive at George Airport where you will be collected by the volunteer staff. Transport is provided on both your arrival and departure, and is included in the programme fee. Preferred transfer time is between 10:00 and 12:00. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 50 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks
24 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$424 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Good Hope Volunteers will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Good Hope Volunteers during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Surfing with Kids - Surfing Instructor

As a volunteer you can make a positive difference by using surfing as a tool to change the lives of underprivileged children.


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